We do not have cell phone text messaging plan. We try to limit sending text messages. This is not looked down upon greatly by our friends. Over the weekend we were travelling along with another couple in our car. We switched off the cell phone GPS system while on highway. When we told them the reason being we were very close to our monthly data plan limit, they made faces. I could see through rare-view mirror.
This might be happening on this blog too. I know there have been readers who came, read a few posts and then left. I may have been too frugal in their eyes. Even at the time of recession, frugality is considered to be poor man’s choice. If some one makes points like below.
“What makes more sense? To make $5,000/month and save 20% or $1,000? Or to make $15,000/month and save 60% or $9,000 and live on the other $6,000? Which is more motivating and rewarding?”
I really do not have much of a choice. It’s very clear that instead of pinching every penny, try to make more income. I touched this subject in saving money vs. earning money post.
Frugality is practiced by few, liked by some and hated by most. You may disagree with me but this is the reality I see around me. My Frugality was challenged at home many times. Going to fast food chain for weekly dinner is a strict ‘no’. Here’s a typical conversation we have when I try to impose frugality on SMB. Many of you face the same challenge at your home. How do you handle it?
It is often considered taboo to be frugal in nature, especially since everyone is more interested in trying to keep up with the Joneses down the street. Keep it in mind that those who still maintain an attitude of being cost conscious are far better prepared for unforeseen events occurring in the future.
What Does Being Frugal Entail
People that exercise frugalities often eliminate the need for products and services that the rest of us take for granted on a daily basis. People of this nature will often forego the things the rest of us view as a necessity in life. They don’t have cable TV or an Internet connection.
Products and services like cell phones and the plans that go with them are not high on their priority list. They reduce the amount of electricity, water and heat they use in order to cut costs from their bills. Frugal people exercise practices within the household to save as much money as possible.
Living in a House of Frugality
Living a frugal lifestyle can encompass many cost conscious exercises. Depending on the level of cost cutting practices employed, living a frugal family lifestyle can encompass such methods as keeping all unnecessary electrical equipment turned off when not in use, some will go so far as to unplug a piece of equipment when they aren’t using it to save a few extra pennies on the bill.
Eliminating the waste of water is accomplished by flushing the toilet only when necessary, taking a bath as opposed to a shower, or turning the shower on and off during the process of bathing, reducing the amount of water used for doing the dishes or laundry, avoiding such actions as washing the car at home or watering the lawn.
Frugal people will also set the thermostat for the house at a specific temperature in order to keep the house livable yet not overheated. Telephone service may also be something not found or available in such a household.
Dealing with the Social Stigma of Being Frugal
Members of frugal families can experience feelings of inadequacy when dealing with the stigma placed on them by the rest of society. This can be very stressful for everyone involved in the family that is being targeted. There are several ways to deal with the friends and social peers who ridicule those without the extravagant items others enjoy.
Explain to the members of the family why these actions are necessary, if they are old enough to understand what they are being told. This will allow them the opportunity to explain to others why they live the way they do. It isn’t necessary to detail every reason for the living conditions, a simple yet concise explanation should suffice.
If the situation exists due to economic difficulties, such as the loss of a job, or the absence of income then consider seeking other employment opportunities. Seek outside assistance programs to alleviate some of the financial stress; several states have cash assistance and food stamp programs, not to mention services that will help you provide medical and dental insurance for all family members affected.
These programs and services are in place to help those who are experiencing difficulties due to financial reasons. If the decision to lead a frugal lifestyle has nothing to do with the amount of income in the household and is rather an ingrained method of survival instituted through living under such conditions as a child yourself, then you may want to take a step outside of your comfort zone and see what others are missing.
You can still enjoy the amenities others in society are privileged to without living in excess. Start out small, order the most basic cable TV service available from your local provider. You might even consider picking up a cell phone and signing up for the smallest plan the company has to offer, or you could purchase a pay as you go cell phone and use it only when absolutely necessary. You would be amazed at how the little things in life can make you socially acceptable again.
Don’t Live in Fear of Being Frugal
You shouldn’t have to avoid contact with friends and family members because of your lifestyle. There are many reasons people choose to be frugal, just as there are many circumstances that can lead to a life of frugality that are beyond our immediate control. In these tough economic times exercising a cost conscious approach to everyday life shouldn’t be considered socially taboo but unfortunately it is.
The majority of society has allowed the advent of technology to dictate their necessities and those that don’t join the national bandwagon are often viewed as being social misfits.
It is an unfair practice to say the least; however if you are a cost conscious person that allocates their finances to suit their needs and have had plenty of success living life that way, then show it to people the advantages you have discovered by continuing to lead a frugal lifestyle.
You probably won’t have much success converting anyone to your outlook or lifestyle but they may have a much better understanding of why you have chosen this path to follow. Like everything else in life, you have to explain your way to be acceptable.
Some form of frugality I don’t like. I would spend time for earning extra money rather than saving pennies by making our own soap and shampoo. Bu,t still my practice of frugality, counting monthly text messages and data usage, eating out once a week, etc. Are frowned upon by many including my wife.
You can’t expect every one to be like you, difference of opinion happens. When it happens at home, it hurts most. Either you give-in or you create stress in relationship. I suggest give-in, we eat at expensive restaurants in our weekly eating outs. We watch only 3D movies when we go out to theaters. You can say I had to compromise to see her happy. And now I started enjoying the experience too and look forward to our next dinner or movie eagerly.
When the resistance comes from the society, you have to live with it. You need to ignore some and avoid some. But, always find balance between extreme frugality and too much spending. I try to do things that way.
Do you face similar situation when you try to be cost conscious and not liked by people around you? How do you handle the situation?
Everyone I know well is frugal also. We try to outdo each other being frugal. You might try to cultivate cost conscious friends. You are probably handling the situation at home the best way possible. I have noticed many people are uncomfortable around devoutly religious people. They may admire them, but find them stifling. It’s the same sort of situation.
Its extremely complex situation. I can cultivate frugal minded friends but, at the same time can’t keep distance from the people who are not cost conscious specially when I gel with them in all other aspects.
Daisy @ Add Vodka says
I’ve turned off my phone because I’m too close to my data limit before and nobody has balked, but maybe that’s because I’m a student. I usually just laugh it off by saying “I’m way too cheap to pay for XYZ” and that breaks the ice. I have to explain why I walk 6 blocks in the rain/snow/ice/heat to get to work because I don’t want to pay for parking all the time, it doesn’t bug me when people are weirded out by it.
Tie the Money Knot says
I have dealt with people who have significant wealth that I can tell either A) Assume I am in the same position (wrong) or B) Simply don’t understand attempts to be frugal. In those cases, I generally try to do things my way and not worry about what they think, but admittedly we all have to compromise sometimes. There is a give and take.
The best thing to do is to be around people who you genuine like and who will not have issues with your habits. Given that this is not a 100% solution, I’d say try to be yourself, and be a little flexible. That’s been my approach, despite my not wanting to be flexible 🙂
mike crosby says
Hey One Cent, I love your blog. Thank you for that.
You almost make it sound that those who choose to live frugally are in danger of becoming pariahs. Not me. In fact, I like to flaunt my frugality.
The other day I got 2 sincere compliments on a t shirt i was wearing. I made sure to tell them “Goodwill baby”. And it led to some fun conversation.
I’ve learned a lot lately about frugality. And I find that it’s becoming a total blast. Near me is a park with lighted tennis courts. A yearly pass is $60, senior $35 or daily $5. I get my FIL to buy the pass and often when I go, I’m the only one there at this beautiful park. The cars are streaming by, backed up at morning and evening rush hour. All the while I feel like this is my own private reserve, where I walk my dogs around the lake and play tennis.
I have no problem being frugal. Although my friends may not be as frugal, they have no problem using my skills when we travel together. I think I am at a point in life where I do not care what other people think about me.
It’s very important to be there, in that point where you don’t care about what others say about it. I don’t think I can ever be that. I am little sentimental and emotional
Kathleen @ Frugal Portland says
That’s hard when your wife isn’t on the same page. I am frugal because I have goals that are more aggressive than the money I make, period.
There’s no other way to meet my goals except by a combination of frugality and making more money.
Kathleen, have you done the calculation around the money you save and time it takes vs. money you earn and time it takes?
I’m typically the frugal one in my relationship. (I wasn’t very frugal in the past but that’s one aim of being frugal now is to get rid of that past life debt) For instance, movies. We have a date fund every two weeks and it’s only $50. Which if you think about it, is not a lot of money. And the theater can eat that up. So now when we go, it has to be approved by both of us as “theater worthy” and it’s always a matinee. That way we save some money at least. As for friends, well, yeah they don’t always understand but think of it as our “eccentricness” and I’m okay with that.
You can also look at buying a gift card for your theater. That is how my DH and I stretch our fun money. Try plastic jungle or carpool.
[email protected]&More says
For the most part I just tell my family I choose not to afford it instead of saying I can’t. It can be difficult at times and they don’t always understand but it is just one of those things we have to agree to disagree on.
I’m pretty cheap and think I handle social taboo quite well. I generally rely on something like” “To each his own. Nice clothes and fancy cars don’t mean much to me. I’d rather drive a Geo and own a home than lease a BMW and rent an apartment, so I’m saving up for a home with all the money saved.” Depending on how much of a jerk I want to be I’d scale the comment and sarcasm “to taste” as they say in the kitchen…. I’d be as nice as “I’m saving every penny for a house” or as mean as “I see people (meaning the person I’m talking with) spending money on fancy cars and vacations and I just can’t get myself to spend money on such shallow things when I could spend half the money on a perfectly suitable car and vacation and donate the rest to help a sick child. That gives me a ton of self worth….”
Yeah, I can be a jerk sometimes.
I tend to agree with you. If you are convinced that you are on right track by being frugal, or too frugal or even cheap, you don’t have to care about what others say. But, do not forget we are social animals at the end of the day.
Whether or not to flush the toilet was a big area of contention in my house growing up. Here’s my comment on that: The person who wants to save water by not flushing also needs to be the person who cleans the toilet on a regular basis. Period.
Call Me What You Want Even Cheap says
Nicole and Maggie, that is funny! I know people who do that. I know I am cheap, but I just couldn’t take the smell of urine sitting in the toilet.
What about the other ones found floating in a toilet? 🙂
[email protected] student loan says
That’s gross SB but i have saw it few times. Yikess
I regularly deal with such situations with my wife at home. It does get a little ugly when one of the two partners may not be fully willing to follow the other’s frugal ideas. I do my best to explain the situation and try and work out the best compromise where both of us are getting something if not everything we wanted 🙂 Looking at your post and all the comments, I feel good that that there are others who face this situation and am not alone 🙂
Edward Antrobus says
I’ve overcome this obstacle by having few friends locally and not much of a life. 🙂
We are lucky, my husband is a student and most of our group are also students so it is ok to be frugal. However, there are some who are still funded by their parents and have more, or are married with working spouse but they are overridden by the rest of us. Sometimes it is better not to explain why you are doing something, and just do it.
Ric "The Turtle" Ryan says
I liked your post. I guess I am biased as I write a lot of posts on this subject myself. Years ago I learned to divide my money into two categories. Living Money and Working Money. Living money pays the bills and buys the groceries and necessities of life. There is a fine line between frugal and cheap. Some things I will buy generic at the store. Some I will not compromise on. I always buy Kraft cheese, and certain name brand sausages. I tried the generics but did not feel I was getting my monies worth. Getting back on track the other money I have is “working money” That means I have some money I use to make me more money and that is all it is used for. It is separate, but I make the rules for it. My philosophy is you can work for money or you can have money work for you. My working money is always looking for ways to buy something cheap, sell it and put the increase in the working money. It will not take long and you will have money that takes the pressure off your need for living money. Working money comes from being frugal and sometimes cheap. I would rather rent a movie, or borrow it from a friend than buy one and or go to a movie. It is personal choice. Like I said I like your blog. I have a lot of this stuff on my blog. Just type Money on the search bar. Not trying to steal your readers or your thunder, just saying it is good what your doing, but sometimes just saving is to slow and we need to make our money work for us. Bank interest sure is not the answer. Enjoyed it.